Dr Alba Fedeli

ITSEE researcher Dr Alba Fedeli has identified one of the oldest surviving fragments of the Qur'an, held at the University of Birmingham Cadbury Research Library.

Alba has recently completed her doctorate at ITSEE, supervised by Professor David Parker, on the text of early Qur'anic manuscripts, focussing on the holdings of the Cadbury Research Library.

Detail from the Mingana manuscript

Realising the significance of one of the early texts written on parchment in hijazi script, she encouraged the Library to have the manuscript carbon dated. The result of the analysis made at the University of Oxford, places the manuscript in the period 568-645, within two decades of the life of the Prophet Muhammad.

Images of the complete manuscript (Mingana Arabic 1572a) are already available online, at the Virtual Manuscript Room created by ITSEE in 2009. Alba has also created an electronic edition of pages from the manuscript.

During her doctorate, Alba advised an exhibition at the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery entitled Qalam: The Art of Beautiful Writing. She has given numerous papers on her research, funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council, including an article on the Mingana Collection for the International Qur'anic Studies Association.

From this autumn, Alba will be taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Budapest, where she will continue her work on the relationship and texts of early Qur'anic manuscripts. She continues to be associated with ITSEE as an honorary fellow of the Institute.

More information about the discovery can be seen on the University's press release and the BBC News website.